Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Review :: Cosy Christmas Mysteries

We all know I love a good cover, and alongside that I'm a big fan of a pun in a title and a cat on the cover, so it's kind of surprising that I don't read more cosy mysteries! This week, though, I do have two cosy Christmassy mysteries to share with you! Both of these I requested review copies of based solely on the titles and covers =)


In the New England town of Frog's Ledge, the Holiday Light Festival is a Christmas tradition. Killing Santa is not. To bring joy back to the season, organic pet patisserie owner Kristan "Stan" Connor will have to find another Santa before it's too late . . .

I know it is not unusual for cosy mysteries to be part of a bigger series, but often you can pick up a book in the middle of the series and not lose too much from not having read the previous ones. I didn't find that to be the case here. There were so many great quirky characters, but I just found myself a bit overwhelmed not only by the number of character I kept being introduced to, but the amount of the back story of each that was explained (I presume from previous books) but not really relevant to this particular story - it felt a bit like being dropped into Stars Hollow with the Gilmore Girls and introduced to everyone in town at once. That said, the story was enjoyable, and I did like the characters, but would recommend starting this series from book one rather than picking this up first (it's book 6 in the series).

Twelve Slays of Christmas :: Jacqueline Frost


When Holly White's fiance cancels their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go, Holly heads home with a broken heart. Lucky for her, home in historic Mistletoe, Maine is magical during Christmastime--exactly what the doctor prescribed. Except her plan to drown her troubles in peppermints and snickerdoodles is upended when local grouch and president of the Mistletoe Historical Society Margaret Fenwick is bludgeoned and left in the sleigh display at Reindeer Games, Holly's family tree farm. 

When the murder weapon is revealed as one of the wooden stakes used to identify trees on the farm, Sheriff Evan Grey turns to Holly's father, Bud, and the Reindeer Games staff. And it doesn't help that Bud and the reindeer keeper were each seen arguing with Margaret just before her death. But Holly knows her father, and is determined to exonerate him.The jingle bells are ringing, the clock is ticking, and if Holly doesn't watch out, she'll end up on Santa's naughty list.

This was my preferred book of the two cosy Christmassy mysteries I read - possibly in part because it was the first in the series. I enjoyed the writing style (I hardly even noticed the first person narrator, which I tend to not be a fan of) and really felt quite swept up into the story and Mistletoe’s Christmassy charm. If you’re after a festive mystery, I’d definitely recommend checking this one out!

***

Purring Around the Christmas Tree and The Twelve Slays of Christmas are both out now. I received review e-book copies through NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews, but only chose to read them because they sounded like books I would enjoy (life's too short to read books we don't think we'll enjoy). All opinions on my blog are my own, and I wouldn't tell you it a book was good if I didn't really think so. =) 

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sunday book stack :: Blue #loveozya

This week Cath Crowley's "Words in Deep Blue" was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards  in the Young Adult category. Since it's sitting on my #loveozya TBR shelf, I thought it would be fun to pull out all the books with blue covers from the same shelf.... 



Well, I had no idea there were so many blue-covered books on my shelf! This must be about two thirds of the books from that shelf. 


So, now I'm curious, do I have an unconscious blue cover bias when I'm book buying? Or does the industry love blue covers?


Xo Bron

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Review :: We'll Always Have Christmas :: Jenny Hale

You wouldn't know it from my November/December TBR pile, but I'm a relative newcomer to the cosy Christmas romance/romcom novel. A few years ago (probably in 2013 when I was pregnant at Christmas and had all the feelings!) I got really into Hallmark Christmas movies -you know, those super sweet, small town America (or New York), quirky character, single mum meets handsome dad kind of movies that are so terrible and cheesy that they are actually quite wonderful. 

My Hallmark Christmas movie obsession (grew) and eventually I figured that since I was enjoying the movies so much it was worth giving a book a try (also, the covers are amazing, and I'll pick up anything with a spectacular cover haha), and after one or two I was pretty hooked.

One of the first authors I read and enjoyed was Jenny Hale. Her stories are super sweet, and the relationships are well written (although her women can be a bit on the too neurotic side). So of course I jumped at he chance to review her latest festive release, We'll Always Have Christmas.




Christmas has always been a special time for Noelle Parker. Winter evenings spent with family and friends, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies at her family’s cozy bakery have shaped her love for all things festive. But this year everything is changing…

The beloved bakery is facing closure and Noelle needs a miracle to save Christmas.


Baking and snow are two of my favourite things in a cosy Christmas story - and this has plenty of both! I loved reading about the bakery and how it made Noelle feel connected to her late grandma. This also had an element of lost love mystery to it, which I really loved. 

I did find the story a little bit slow to start, but once it got going I thought it was fantastic, and I felt quite swept up into Noelle's festive world.

This was my favourite of Jenny Hale's Christmas books so far, and I think it would make a great place to start if you're new to the world of festive romance.

I gave this one four sparkly stars!

We'll Always Have Christmas is out now from bookouturereceived a review copy in exchange for an honest review, but only chose to read it because it sounded like a book I would enjoy (life's too short to read books we don't think we'll enjoy). All opinions on my blog are my own, and I wouldn't tell you it a book was good if I didn't really think so. =) 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Sunday book stack :: Christmassy

I haven't shared a Sunday book stack for so long, partly because I've been doing so much reading on my Kindle - which obviously doesn't translate so well to a stack!  
Today, though, I pulled out some of the Christmas books on my TBR for November and December and took a snap. Some of these covers are so lovely!



There are a couple in here that I have read previously, and am looking forward to re-reading this year, a few from the library, and also A Very Country Christmas, a collection of short stories set in Australian which I am currently reading (and as much as I love a snowy cosy Christmas romance, I have to admit there is something extra special about recognising our Christmas in a story!)

I'd love to know whether you have a favourite Christmas book, or any recommendations for festive reads!

Xo Bron

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Reviews :: An Unforgettable Christmas :: Tilly Tenant

Hello and welcome to Christmas at Bookish Bron =)

I thought I'd start with a sweet pair of Christmassy stories from Tilly Tennant: 




With bright red hair and an infectious smile, Dodie is a hopeless romantic and absolutely one of a kind, just like the pieces in her shop. 

When Dodie finds a love letter in the pocket of an old woollen coat, she makes it her mission to deliver it to its rightful owner. Following the address, she manages to persuade the handsome but reluctant new tenant, Edward, to help her with her search. 

As the story of the letter unfolds, Dodie is there, as always, to pick up the pieces and make things right. But who will be there for her when her own love story needs a helping hand? 



It's the week before Christmas and Isla McCoy has just received an unexpected gift: a letter announcing she is due a life-changing inheritance, but only if she’s willing to make peace with the father who abandoned her. 

She has absolutely no intention of making amends, but who could resist an all-expenses-paid trip to the French resort of St Martin-de-Belleville? 

There she meets smooth-talking Justin and nerdy glaciologist Sebastian; two very different men, with two very different agendas. Torn between her head and her heart, Isla finds herself utterly lost in a winter wonderland of her own feelings. 

Surrounded by twinkling candles and roaring log-fires, Isla’s resolve finally begins to melt. But will she learn how to reconnect, not only with a whole new family, but with herself and her heart? 

***
Obviously it was the gorgeous covers of this pair that caught my attention at first - and the titles, I do love some alliteration ; ). And the stories were just as lovely! The books are companions to each other - Dodie and Isla are best friends, and the stories told in these run at the same time. A Very Vintage Chridtmas is the first book, and I thought that order worked really well.

Both books are super sweet! 
A Very Vintage Christmas is set in a seaside town in the UK, and had that perfect cosy, snowy, christmassy feel. There were some parts where the timing and progression of the story felt a bit weird, but there were so many great characters that I found that easy to forgive.

A Cosy Candlelit Christmas, set in a ski resort, felt a tiny bit less Christmassy, but definitely more snowy. The story felt a bit more serious/heavy, but I found it entirely charming. There was one scene that made me a bit uncomfortable - where one of the guys tries to force himself on Isla and it is just kind of brushed off - I feel like I want to see a stronger message of how not ok that is in my books.

As a pair, I thought the books worked fantastically! I enjoyed the style of the writing in both, and I loved getting the perspective of both these women - also the fact that their voices were different enough that i didn't feel like I was reading the same book twice.

If you're after some sweet, fun, cosy, Christmassy romance I'd recommend checking these out!

Xo Bron

A Very Vintage Christmas and A Cosy Candlelit Christmas are both out now from bookoutureI received review copies in exchange for honest reviews, but only chose to read them because they sounded like books I would enjoy (life's too short to read books we don't think we'll enjoy). All opinions on my blog are my own, and I wouldn't tell you it a book was good if I didn't really think so. =) 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

A few not quite Christmassy reviews

Before we kick off the festive reviews, I've got two not quite Christmassy books to share. These were both books I received for free through NetGalley for review, and both ones I requested for review because I thought they were Christmas romances. Whilst they didn't end up being so, they both had some of those same characteristics I love in a festive read - cosy, snowy weather, a female protagonist who is at some kind of crossroads in her life and a sweet romance with an unlikely guy. 

The Woolly Hat Knitting Club


When Dee Blackthorn’s brother, JP, breaks both wrists not only is he in need of a helping hand – or two – but the knitting shop he owns can’t function. Sisterly duties take Dee away from her demanding job and she is unceremoniously fired amidst rumours of inappropriate behaviour. Dee is certain that her hot-shot nemesis, Ben, is behind it all but has no proof.

When Dee bumps into an old friend who is a new mum to a premature baby she convinces JP to enlist his knitting pals to make lots of tiny woolly hats. Then Ben turns up denying involvement in Dee’s sacking and she ropes him into helping the knitting cause. 

But before long Dee’s good intentions backfire and she risks losing her friends, her family and Ben, who’s turned out to be not so bad after all…

I love a knitty novel, and this cosy romance was sweet and a lot of fun. The protagonist got on my nerves a bit (first person narrative isn't my favourite, and there was so much business jargon) but once I settled into the story more it was fine. I thought the characters in this one were really likeable, and I also enjoyed the level of knitty detail in there.


I gave this one 3.5 stars


Hygge and Kisses 




Bo, 26, has always been careful, cautious. However, she's just been made redundant and her life plan is beginning to unravel. Before she starts immediately applying for other jobs in a panic, her friend Kirsten persuades her to take a holiday, to visit Kirsten's mother's house in Aslbrog, North Jutland, a part of Denmark Bo is ashamed to admit she has never heard of.


There was no way I was going to be able to resist the opportunity to read this one! It's a hygge novel! And set in Denmark! And look at that cover! I loved the Danish aspects (natch) of the story - it really did feel so hyggelig! 

Again, I had a bit of trouble at times with the protagonist - because I'm not comfortable being inside the head of someone who is so negative about themselves, and let's others treat them as appallingly, as Bo does. As her story unfolded, however, I found myself liking her more and more. 

This had a great 'coming of age' feel to it, and I would definitely pick up a sequel if it was a series.


I gave it 3 stars.


****


The Woolly Hat Knitting Club and Hygge and Kisses are both out now. I received review copies in exchange for honest reviews, but only chose to read them because they sounded like books I would enjoy (life's too short to read books we don't think we'll enjoy). All opinions on my blog are my own, and I wouldn't tell you it a book was good if I didn't really think so. =) 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Hello November!

Helllooooooo and welcome to November!
I had a MASSIVE reading month in October, getting through 11 whole books (and most of the way through a twelfth!).

My favourite book of November was The Last Namsara (which I reviewed here last weekend) - gosh this book was fantastic! Between the Read Harder Challenge and reviewing, I have been reading less YA fantasy than usual, and this honestly fit exactly to mild of what my perfect YA fantasy book is! I can't wait for the next installment in September (I think) 2018.



Most of my other reading in October was Christmassy! I wanted to get an early start on the festive reads this year because I've got a bunch to review and wanted to be able to share them here in time for you to be able to get your hands on them in time for December. 
They are mostly chick-lit/light rom com type books, but I've got a couple of cosy mysteries and some others for a bit of variety too.

I think I'll post a weekly wrap up of about 4 books at a time, probably on Wednesdays - so keep an eye out for that next week if you're interested! Of course I'm also reviewing as I go on my Goodreads account  and share most of what I'm reading on Instagram too (@bookishbron) - please feel free to pop by and check it out and ask about any of the books I've featured there too if you like. I'm also happy to try and give recommendations if that helps you out too!

In the meantime, happy reading!

Xo Bron